WorldTeach - Volunteer Teaching in the Marshall Islands

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About

On the Marshall Islands, primary school is mandatory for Grades 1-8, though many children are not enrolled. As a volunteer teacher on the Marshall Islands, you could teach in public elementary schools, high schools, or vocational schools. One placement is an urban area with larger and more advanced classes, and another in a rural area where the communities are largely untouched by modernity.

Our Marshall Islands program is fully funded by the Marshall Islands Ministry of Education and volunteer airfare is also covered.

With our year-long program, you can also become TEFL certified to earn credibility and give you an edge in the ESL teaching job market. While certification usually costs about $1,899, with WorldTeach you can become certified for only $350 while also gaining priceless in-country teaching experience.

Watch our webinar (http://bit.ly/1t22U9U) to hear directly from previous volunteer teachers and field staff on what it's like to teach in the Marshall Islands.

Questions & Answers

Rob, Thank you for your interest in a WorldTeach teaching position. Unfortunately, we only offer year long teaching positions to candidates who hold a degree. This is partly our policy, but the Ministries and Departments of Education we partner with require you hold a degree to teach in their schools as well. Summer teaching programs only require you are 18 or older, however we do not offer a...

Reviews

85%
based on 39 reviews
  • Benefits 8.2
  • Support 8
  • Fun 7.9
  • Facilities 7.6
  • Safety 8.1
Showing 1 - 15 of 39
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Laura
10/10

A Memorable Experience

What a year. When I first got to the Marshall Islands, I was unsure of what I was getting myself into. There were unique aspects of the Marshallese culture that I had to adjust to, and teaching was especially hard. However, after a few months, I got into the swing of things and life became more natural. By the end of the year, I did not want to leave.

WorldTeach provides you with the necessities. You get a small stipend which is enough to survive on (but I would recommend bringing some savings). There is a three week orientation at the beginning of the year where they cover the basics life safety in the culture, some language, basic teaching principles. Once they send you into the your community, the field director will check on you throughout the year and is available in the case of an emergency. However, for the most part you are on your own. The best support comes from your fellow volunteers and within your own community.

During the course of this year, I felt like I had become part of such a special community and learned about these people far beyond what any traveler could see. Life in the Marshall Islands is slow and difficult. However, if you are up for the challenge, willing to step outside of your comfort zone and have an open mind, then the satisfaction you will feel from the impact you make and relationships you build, far exceed the obstacles.

How can this program be improved?
It would be nice to receive some more support from the staff. I lived on the same island as the field director, yet never really developed a relationship with her. \
Yes, I recommend
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Camilla
9/10

Review - Camilla Payne

My experience was excellent. The things that made it a little harder were the lack of teaching resources and training, which made settling into the new job a little harder. Otherwise, everything that comes with moving to a new country and living within a different language were to be expected.
Future participants should know that even though this is a tropical location that it will not be like a holiday. this is a working job where you should really put all your effort into doing to the best of you ability - even if you are finding the transition tough. Even though you will leave afterwards it doesn't mean that you can or should give up when things get a little tougher. Stick it out and you will be rewarded!

How can this program be improved?
A more rigorous teaching and Marshallese language training given either throughout orientation or even throughout the year.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
William
10/10

Island Life

Having the opportunity to volunteer in the Marshall Islands through WorldTeach was an amazing experience that I would recommend to any graduate who wants to give back. It was an amazing experience! Getting to be immersed in the Marshallese culture was an enriching and rewarding experience. The Marshallese are some of the most welcoming and friendly people I've had the pleasure of meeting. Walking around the island you are invited into the community members homes to share meals and talk. You very quickly are seen as a member of the community and become involved with events from feasts to sporting competitions that are frequently held. It truly is an experience of a life time to visit, volunteer and become a member of a community that most people in the world don't know about let alone will ever have the opportunity to visit.

How can this program be improved?
This program could be improved by adding additional opportunities to travel to other atolls during service.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Jennifer
9/10

A good fit

I had always wanted to do an immersion program in another country. I was drawn to WorldTeach's programs because they only required a one year commitment (as opposed to the Peace Corps), although when it was time to leave, I seriously considered staying for another year because I realized that one year was not enough time to really make significant changes. In fact, I only started to "find my groove" at the start of the second semester. I did stay a few extra months and participated in a teacher training program on Majuro.

I chose to live on an outer island because I wanted the challenge of being totally out of my comfort zone. I definitely got what I asked for! If you choose the outer island experience, you will not have a lot of contact (especially not immediate) with home or fellow volunteers. That was difficult at times when you really wanted to talk to someone that could relate to what you are experiencing. However, there were arrangements made for occasional visits to other islands, semi regular radio check-ins, a volunteer contact assigned to help you get needed items from the main island, and good old fashion snail mail, which takes on a whole new meaning when you are relying on the inconsistency of the RMI planes to deliver much anticipated correspondence and care packages.

The program overall was a good fit for me. The return volunteer who interviewed me helped with my expectations as well, even going as far as to lend me items she found helpful during her time. While at times I felt really alone, when I really needed assistance, like when I needed to change host families, the field director came to my aid and facilitated the move with ease handling the delicate balance of not offending anyone while still getting me a more hospitable family.

Some of my favorite parts of the experience were the natural beauty that I was able to enjoy every day - the beach, the water, the trees; the friendships I made with other volunteers whom I never would have met in my little Midwest bubble; the ability to experience a different culture and people (while often frustrating) allowed me to see a different way of life, allowed me to slow down and reassess what I considered important; and the events and activities I was invited to participate in on my home island, such as first birthdays, small island picnics, and mat weaving lessons.

How can this program be improved?
I would have liked more instruction in the Marshallese language and maybe something arranged for continued instruction while on island, although, I suppose that could be instigated by the volunteer. More teacher instruction during orientation particularly dealing with the obstacles that outer island volunteers will face and ways to work with limited resources. Also, some focus on outcomes and expectations - what is the end goal at your school? How do you plan to get there? This might be difficult however, due to the fact that the schools are all so different even among the outer islands.
Yes, I recommend
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Janaea
8/10

Madness in Majol

Living in the Marshall Islands (I was on Guegeegue/Ebeye on Kwajalein Atoll) was definitely the most challenging, fun, and unique experience I have had. Although it required a lot of flexibility (months without wifi, limited school supplies, etc), I would never trade the relationships I formed with my students and coworkers. My favorite part about teaching was getting to know my students as individuals, not just students in my classroom. The island I was on was friendly and had a strong sense of community. WorldTeach was also incredibly supportive throughout the year and really made me feel like I wasn't alone. Although I missed my friends and family, I wouldn't change anything about my time there. Not only did I learn a lot about myself and the culture there, but I also got to enjoy countless sunrises and sunsets by the ocean/lagoon. It was breathtaking!

Yes, I recommend
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Katrina
10/10

Teaching in the Marshall Islands

The year I spent volunteering in the Marshall Islands was truly unlike any other experience I've had in my life, before or since. It challenged me in ways that I never could have expected and also rewarded me with the chance to develop a greater sense of strength and independence. This was all in addition to the incredibly kind, warm, and welcoming community that I was fortunate enough to become a part of for my year in the RMI. This experience truly changed my life and some of my closest friends to this day are people that I met while volunteering with WorldTeach.

Yes, I recommend
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Rebekah
7/10

Life on a Strip of Land in the Middle of the Ocean

After graduating from Teachers College in Canada, I decided that I wanted to go overseas and expose myself to an entirely new way of life. I had previously taught and lived in other countries, but nothing as unique and remote as the Marshall Islands. I wanted to see how far my teaching skills would go, and how much I could learn in return. So in 2014 I set off with my boyfriend at the time to Majuro where I had a month of orientation with the other volunteers. It was an amazing experience and a good transition period for the volunteers to build a support system and a knowledge base of the cultural differences and way of life yet to come. We had an amazing Field Director Todd Mulroy and other World Teach Staff that provided so much support and great communication. After orientation we were all sent to the outer islands on either a small plane or a supply ship. I was sent to Namdrik Atoll which was no bigger than 2 square miles. We were surrounded by ocean on all sides and the islanders were so welcoming. Life there was extremely tough and isolated with few teaching resources but extremely rewarding. Namdrik had no internet or phones and the only communication was a radio to the main island. Mail was received sparsely by the small plane that landed occasionally. We ate mostly fish and coconuts and learned to live an ultra slow relaxed lifestyle where time had no relevance and priorities included sweeping up leaves or making copra. I could talk forever about this experience but given limited space I will just say that I highly recommend this program if you want to experience extreme conditions of cultural diversity and if you can handle limited communication with the rest of the world. The culture is entirely different from a North American one, but I promise it will change your life and the way you view poverty and education forever. - Rebekah Osio Vanden

How can this program be improved?
The program could be improved by providing more teaching resources to the volunteers.
Response from WorldTeach

Hello Rebekah,

Thank you very much for leaving such a detailed and vivid description of life in the Marshall Islands for WorldTeach volunteers! We are very glad to hear it was a positive experience for you. Also, those pictures are wonderful! If you'd ever like to host the WorldTeach Instagram let us know at [email protected] :-).

Thanks again Rebekah!

Best,

Caitlin

Yes, I recommend
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Okeoma
9/10

A Year That Changed the Course of My Life

The year I spent on Majuro teaching 3rd graders for WorldTeach truly changed the trajectory of my life. I met my husband and the father of my two boys while volunteering in the Marshalls. While I wouldn't recommend you apply for the program in hopes of meeting your true love, I would say that the relationships that I fostered with my fellow volunteers continue to be some of the most treasured friendships.

The program was a wonderful opportunity to become fully immersed in an environment, culture and community that is like no other. The work itself was frustrating and overwhelming at times, but also fulfilling, inspirational and downright fun! The Marshallese people are generally very kind and welcoming which really helps to get you through the hard times.

Yes, I recommend
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Jourdan
8/10

Outer Island Life

Majuro volunteers faced a whole different set of problems, but as an outer island volunteer, I loved life! It is definitely remote, but also a wonderful experience if you embrace that. Be prepared to live life Majol style, and be up for anything. A lot of the experience depends on the quality of the field director, and no one had stayed in that position for very long in awhile, so that is a bit of a gamble. I did expect much from WT, and therefore was fine with not having a whole lot of contact. If you want to be hand held, this is not the program for you.

Yes, I recommend
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Melissa
10/10

The Best Year of My Life

Honestly, it was truly the best year of my life! WorldTeach has done an exceptional job setting up this program. From assuring special needs situations (I needed to have a phone readily accessible due to an ailing family member) to setting up a mandatory visit with a fellow volunteer (which was exceptional!) to arranging celebrations and general support. They've even built relationships in the community that allowed for opportunities like learning how to race a yacht and SCUBA dive. I LOVED the children I worked with, I LOVED the island and the opportunities it brought. If I could take a sabbatical and do it again, I would in a heartbeat!

How can this program be improved?
It would have been neat if they'd had a program setup to help maintain contact with those from the RMI as well as fellow volunteers after the session ended.
Yes, I recommend
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Ana
9/10

A Challenging Year

Nothing worth while is easy. The same goes for the year spent in the Marshall Islands.

Everything about this program, country and culture is both really wonderful and really frustrating.

You will see the most beautiful sceneries... But you will have to withstand the heat humidity and mosquitoes. You will learn to live in the moment because there is no concept of planning when you tick by island time, however you will have to accept not knowing anything that goes on around you. You will learn to survive with very little, however it will render you so grateful for how much you do actually have.

This year was challenging on every level- physical, emotionaly, moral... However this year has shaped so much of who I am talking. A truly revolutionary experience, that when you come out on the other side, you are pride to have the bragging rights of surviving a year in a remote Pacific island. Who else can say they have ?

How can this program be improved?
More control and preliminary check of the housing situation prior to volunteers arriving
Yes, I recommend
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Justin
8/10

A life-changing and character-building experience you will never forget

I was among the first cohort of volunteers for WorldTeach's RMI program and--as a fresh college grad at the time--truly had the experience of a lifetime. In a sense, living on a remote atoll in the middle of the Pacific turned out to be precisely what I bargained for: I literally lived in a grass hut with no indoor plumbing, telephone, or internet (thank God for the A/C unit), and passed time by playing ukulele, spearfishing, and sharing cultural practices with the villagers. It was a character building experience, and one I could probably never do again (as an "adult" who now craves certain first-world foods and amenities). Without a doubt, I emerged a better, more patient, and more culturally sensitive person--albeit one who was blissfully yet woefully oblivious to what had just happened in the rest of the world during that year. I wouldn't trade my experience for the world.

That said, to write a fair and honest review, I should also alert potential program participants to the dangers of living in a remote island country. I was not healthy for much of the year, and probably lost 30 pounds. I fell ill numerous times--including being sent to a local hospital on Majuro, the capital--and had at least one near-death experience spearfishing in rough waters. Bathing in rain catchment water for a year (and the ocean) ruined my skin--which took years to clean up--and living with no indoor plumbing, including hot water, occasionally drove me mad. I also recall spending days fending off rats and other insects and animals that tested my patience (yes, I even participated in a ritualistic pig and turtle slaughter for a banquet).

These warnings are not so much about the program itself, of course, but rather the vicissitudes of living in any developing nation. My only gripe about the program would be the general lack of support from our field director at the time, who--while a great, stand-up guy--did little to tend to our individual concerns. Fortunately, the Marshallese inherently exude such kindness and generosity that I always felt like I had a family and all the support I needed.

How can this program be improved?
Ensure participants are aware of the dangers of living in a remote, underdeveloped country where infrastructure and rule-of-law are still embryonic (or non-existent) in some areas.
Response from WorldTeach

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this extensive review, and for accurately describing the difficult living conditions of the Marshall Islands. The WorldTeach Marshall Islands program is undoubtedly the most remote environment that we teach in, and therefore, the safety of our volunteers is our main priority. During the interview process, volunteers applying to the Marshall Islands are informed of the difficult living conditions in the Marshall Islands, especially the outer islands WorldTeach only accepts volunteers that we deem able to deal with this environment. Once accepted, volunteers first receive extensive pre-departure literature, which introduces many topics about living and teaching in the specific host country, including the living conditions, safety and security, diet and health, cost of living, cultural challenges that one can expect to confront, and the current state of the education system. Prior to departure, accepted volunteers are also given contact information of alumni who act as Country Experts so that they can receive additional perspectives from the field. This is why reviews like yours are vital for our prospective volunteers to have an accurate account of the service they will be entering. Once volunteers arrive to the Marshalls, they participate in an orientation for 3-4 weeks, where a large emphasis is placed on safety and health, and covers existing safety protocol and requirements, specific to both the outer islands and the more urban center. Thank you again for addressing this very important issue.

Yes, I recommend
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Shaun
9/10

Amazing Experience

The WorldTeach Marshall Islands program is a great experience. On an outer island I was able to stay with a host family which was the most amazing experience. I ate their food, went to their celebrations and learned handicrafts and traditions. I was able to really be a part of the community. The Marshallese have so much to offer and I loved my time with my family and community.

It's also true that my experience there was one of the most difficult of my life. Because it is a developing nation, amenities such as hot water, electricity, and internet are not guaranteed. Transportation to and from the outer islands is spotty so mail and supplies are consistently late. Despite all of these obstacles, our field directors worked tirelessly to get us our mail or make sure we were up to date on news. They were thoughtful by sending us things we requested from the capitol, Majuro. Our field directors were unbelievably supportive.

The Marshall Islands program is not for everyone. It can be difficult and frustrating but I learned so much about myself and the Marshallese. They are a wonderful, hospitable and loving culture. The WorldTeach Marshall Islands is definitely a one of a kind program.

How can this program be improved?
The interview process was the only portion of the program that wasn't helpful. My interviewer painted an unflattering picture of the RMI and of her fellow volunteers. She was also not entirely polite about some of my extracurricular activities when we were sharing about relevant experiences.
Response from WorldTeach

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this review. I want to apologize for the unfortunate and unfriendly experience you had during your interview process. In the past, our interviews were held with alumni; now, we have an Admissions Coordinator that conducts all interviews.

That being said, it is unacceptable that the interviewer presented her opinions in a way that hindered you to enter the program without set expectations. It is of course very important to be realistic about the difficulties of serving and teaching, especially in a country like the Marshall Islands, but each volunteer creates their own experience and therefore cannot judge other volunteers' actions or experiences.

Thank you for addressing this important issue, it is extremely helpful for WorldTeach to be aware of these incidents.

Yes, I recommend
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Jacob
8/10

WorldTeach RMI

My expectation that I could foster high academic standards in my classroom at an outer islands high school was not consistent with the students' abilities, nor was it compatible with the resources available to me. Nothing in the WorldTeach program -- geared mostly toward elementary schools -- prepared me for the experience. My time as a teacher would have been much better spent (both for me and for my students) if I had totally abandoned any pretense of a curriculum and instead focused completely on just getting to know my students, playing games with them, etc. It was overall a positive experience, but it took me much longer to adjust than I imagined it would.

How can this program be improved?
WorldTeach could have done a better job communicating realistic expectations of school conditions and community dynamics. Better instruction of the Marshallese language would have been helpful as well.
Yes, I recommend
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Emily
10/10

Life Changing Experience

I lived on an outer island atoll and LOVED it! Despite having no running water, electricity, and barely any contact with the outside world, I would not trade this experience for anything! I was fortunate to have two AMAZING leaders who did all they could to make us feel at home, welcomed and taken care of. I was with a group of amazing individuals whom I love and will cherish for life. They are a group of people who truly understand how life changing it can be to go outside of your comfort via shipping boat for 5 days on open waters and be "stranded" on an island survivor style. You have the chance to learn to spear fish/sharks/octopus, husk coconuts, learn traditional islands dances, cook traditional island foods, operate on a completely different pace and schedule, and appreciate being unplugged from cell phones, internet, and all the distractions of your life. You will create a bond with your host family that will last a life time, and with your students and teaching staff. You will learn how much you are able to handle, and how to adapt to new situations, and hopefully a little bit of the native language. Despite the good, bad and ugly stories/reviews you may have, if you are looking for an experience that will push you to discover who you are and what you are made of, do this program. Even if you don't plan on being a teacher, I would still highly suggest doing this program. They will teach and train you to be an amazing teacher, you just have to guts to try.

How can this program be improved?
To be honest, the first day in LA at the hotel. It was a little rushed, and would have liked a little more time to be able to get to know the volunteers before the long flight. Overall, it was a great program, and at this moment cannot pin point one specific problem.
Yes, I recommend

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WorldTeach was founded in 1986 by a group of Harvard students who were motivated by the desire to promote local education initiatives in places where teachers and resources were lacking. Today, we continue to provide opportunities for individuals to...